The fruits of labour

HOT on the heels of success at the Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry annual awards where it was lauded for its innovative approach to business, Wilson Brewing Company will launch an aged fruit beer tomorrow night.

Wilson team member Rob Quayle said the company had been experimenting with ageing beers in a variety of casks during the past 12 months.

“We’ve done a few seasonal beers in cabernet sauvignon barrels and in whisky barrels from a local distillery,” he said.

“The Skuttle Butt has been aged in both gin and cabernet sauvignon barrels which gives it a really interesting smell and taste.”

Mr Quayle said the brewers also added some locally grown plums and nectarines into the mix.

“It has a wonderful fruity smell to it, but the flavour is much more complex than that,” he said.

“You get the bitterness from the gin come through with the wine and the locally grown hops.

“We only transferred it to the fermentation tanks on Monday and we should have it in kegs and cans on Wednesday and Thursday.”

A quick independent visual and olfactory assessment of the new brew that was sitting at a relatively light 4.1 per cent before canning confirmed a drop that was light in colour and surprisingly fruity smelling.

Mr Quayle said support for Wilson Brewing Company had skyrocketed in recent months and had triggered an expansion in storage and distribution.

“We’re producing three times the amount that we were last year,” he said.

“We’ve entered in to a few competitions this year and done pretty well,” he said.

“Our Rough Seas pale ale got a silver medal at the Perth Royal Beer awards recently and we got silver and bronze for our packaging and design.

“We also got People’s Choice too. We went up for the beer and came back with the medals.”

“We wouldn’t have got here if it wasn’t for the amazing support we’ve received from locals and from people enjoying our beer outside of the Great Southern.”

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Campaign continues

DENMARK fund raiser Mary Williams says she always knew in her heart that Albany would get a radiation machine to treat cancer patients, but that didn’t mean learning about Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson’s $6.6 million grant to fund one last week was any less sweet.

The Weekender exclusively revealed last Thursday that Mr Wilson had secured Federal funding to assist the purchase of a linear accelerator, CT simulator and CT interfacing planning and computer system for three work stations for use at Albany Health Campus as early as June next year (‘Cancer funding coup’, 13 September 2018).

Ms Williams began the Albany Radiation Machine Project last year in an attempt to raise $15 million for a facility in Albany.

She said it wasn’t good enough that sick people were forced to travel to Perth and Bunbury for radiotherapy and urged the broader community to donate to help fund the machine.

The project has raised approximately $25,000 so far through sausage sizzles, a radiothon and various other fundraising events.

Ms Williams said the task at hand now was to continue campaigning to guarantee the radiation machine is delivered to Albany.

“Truly, my heart is singing,” she said, upon learning the news.

“I started this off as a five-year project because no one believed me that we could do it in that time, but I knew we’d get it sooner!

“Now, we must plough on and keep the momentum up.”

Ms Williams said during her travels throughout the Great Southern to promote the Albany Radiation Machine Project, she learned of many people’s afflictions with cancer and the struggles they encountered when travelling to Perth for treatment.

Between gaining this knowledge and receiving various negative comments about the project, Ms Williams was more driven than ever to pursue her goal of getting a radiation machine for Albany.

“One person asked me, ‘when are we going to get it?’ and I said, ‘just hang in there, we will get it’,” she said.

“I can’t wait to tell those farmers and people I met in the regions that we’ve done it.”

Ms Williams is continuing her effort to raise additional funds by visiting previous businesses and sites that hosted the large signs she erected for the Albany Radiation Machine Project and asking them to put them back up.

A street stall in Denmark, a barn dance in Kojonup, a high tea and a few more sausage sizzles are also on her fundraising to-do list.

“I’ve put out about 2500 flyers around the region and we are currently organising a dinner dance,” Ms Williams said.

“We are hoping to hold it at Princess Royal Sailing Club in November, so everyone should keep an eye out for tickets for that one.”

According to Mr Wilson, the radiotherapy machine and facility should be in operation at Albany Health Campus by June 30, 2019.

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Barker’s pie in the sky

AFTER taking the time and care to hand deliver an assortment of Mount Barker Country Bakery’s finest pies to Melbourne last week for the Official Great Aussie Pie Competition, the team behind the counter will be able to add another nine medals to their growing collection.

Qualified pastry chef and bakery founder Mick Dumbrell and wife Kristine have visited the competition every year since the bakery opened its doors.

“We had to really pack the eskys tight with newspaper and ice packs for the trip in the plane. But it was worth it,” Ms Dumbrell said.

“We’ve always done really well at the Aussie Pie Competition.

“Our staff is critical to producing great results and fantastic pies.

“Our pies are the biggest part of our business and we make sure that every pie is made fresh and from scratch.”

This year the bakery received a medal for each pie submission, with their chunky mince, kangaroo and chorizo, and cauliflower and blue cheese pies all receiving gold medals.

Their chicken carbonara, braised lamb, surf and turf, Sri Lankan pork curry and barbeque pork all received silver.

“We’re really proud that our chunky beef pie was named the second best pie in Australia,” Ms Dumbrell said.

“What we put in a pie is the same quality as what you find in a restaurant and it made the difference.”

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Experts dig deeper for earthquake epicentre

TECHNICAL field officers from Geoscience Australia are in Frankland River until at least the end of this week to deploy earthquake recording equipment in the wake of WA’s largest earthquake this year, which occurred there on Sunday.

A 5.7 magnitude earthquake was recorded north-east of Lake Muir near Frankland River, 120km north-west of Albany on Sunday at 12.56pm.

It was the biggest out of 15 earthquakes recorded in the Great Southern this year and surpassed the size of 175 other earthquakes recorded this year across the state.

A magnitude 2.6 earthquake was documented at 7.07am on the same day, and a smaller 2.1 magnitude earthquake followed the large earthquake at 1.11pm.

A Geoscience Australia spokesperson stated the earthquake activity seen this month in WA was “not particularly unusual”, as WA consistently had the most number of recorded earthquakes in Australia each year.

“Earthquake activity is known to vary with time, so it is not unusual to experience six or more earthquakes in WA in any one month,” the spokesperson said.

“Every few years, we record ‘earthquake swarms’ in the south west WA region, which may have 100 or more small earthquakes within any given month.

“There have been 190 earthquakes recorded in Western Australia since the beginning of the year, ranging in magnitude between 1.5 and the 5.7 near Frankland River, and the distribution of these earthquakes covers most of the state, with a concentration in the South West Seismic Zone.”

The spokesperson said the exact location of the Sunday earthquake was yet to be determined.

“The technical field officers are deploying earthquake recording equipment to enable Geoscience Australia to better locate the small but ongoing aftershocks following Sunday’s magnitude 5.7 earthquake,” they said.

“There is still some uncertainty on the actual location of the earthquake – approximately 10 km in any direction – so this deployment will enable us to pin-point the location of the main shock, based on the locations of aftershocks, much more accurately.

“The visit will also enable the technical field officers to deploy GPS sensors to measure if there has been any ground surface deformation as a consequence of the earthquake.”

The spokesperson stated the Frankland River visit would also help scientists develop more accurate models on how earthquake ground shaking propagates from the earthquake source located on a fault line through the earth beneath south-west WA.

“This data is critical to informing national building codes and standards,” they said.

Plate tectonics and structural geology expert Professor Chris Elders from Curtin University’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences said earthquakes similar in size to the one felt on Sunday occur every three to five years in WA.

He reassured residents that Sunday’s earthquake would not have the potential to impact tides or generate a tsunami because it occurred onshore.

“Earthquakes are caused by stress generated at the boundaries of tectonic plates which is transmitted into the continent and builds up on faults until they fail, causing an earthquake,” Professor Elders said.

“They are unrelated to weather events.”

Professor Elders said a lot of earthquakes in WA are often very small and are barely felt, unless “we were right on top of where they happened”.

The Geoscience Australia spokesperson said the organisation is expecting to record aftershocks following Sunday’s event.

They said aftershocks often follow a general pattern which sees events reduce in frequency and magnitude over time; however, not all sequences follow the same pattern.

“It is important to note that earthquakes are unpredictable,” the spokesperson said.

“While we are expecting to see aftershocks in the Frankland River area over the coming weeks, we cannot discount the possibility of another significant earthquake in the area.”

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Fruit crisis bites

ALBANY farmer Neil Handasyde says he has already felt the devastating effects of the nation-wide strawberry crisis and has urged the State Government to assist growers.

Online footage of farmers dumping entire crops of strawberries has gone viral over the past week following the discovery of needles inside the popular seasonal fruit that was sold in Queensland.

The discovery has seen strawberry prices plummet, but ironically, demand has skyrocketed in the past few days.

Mr Handasyde was still selling produce from his 50-hectare property on Chester Pass Road earlier this week, but described the situation as “diabolical”.

“We’re becoming this international joke with needles found in our fruit,” he said.

“I don’t know what strawberries have done to get treated like this.”

Mr Handasyde said he was shocked and dismayed that consumers and big supply chains had facilitated the drop in price.

“I know for damn sure that it wouldn’t have been a grower or a picker that would have done this,” he said.

“Something like this seriously affects businesses and people can lose jobs.

“People’s livelihoods are being affected by someone with a weird vendetta against strawberries.”

Mr Handasyde said that while locals had come out in support of his business following a post on their Facebook page, other businesses would not be so lucky.

“You can get a punnet of strawberries for 50 cents,” he lamented.

“Queensland won’t be as affected as we are, since they’re at the end of their season, but we’ve only just started ours.

“Last year we had the quarantine issue and this year we have needles. It’s no wonder farmers just can’t do it anymore.”

Mr Handasyde said he was angry the State Government had not yet offered assistance to the industry similar to the $1 million boost handed out by the Queensland government.

“I’m waiting for answers and I’m waiting to see some help from the government,” he said.

Minister for Food and Agriculture Alannah MacTiernan was contacted for comment, but as she is on leave, The Weekender was referred to the Premier’s office.

Premier Mark McGowan emphasised the anger felt towards the culprits.

“To the people who are doing this across Australia, they are drop kicks, and they are committing a criminal offense,” he said.

“If you undertake this sort of activity you can and will be caught.

“I think every Western Australian will want the book thrown at the people who are undertaking this sort of action.”

The severity of the crisis has prompted the Federal Government to announce that it will seek to make it a criminal offense to recklessly contaminate fruit, with increased penalties for other food contamination.

Mr McGowan said a reward leading to the capture and conviction of anyone committing the vandalism against strawberries was now on the table.

“We’re offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who helps convict the vandals,” he said.

“It’s a shocking thing to do, to risk someone’s life like that.”

Strawberry Growers Association of WA Vice President Paul Da Silva said there had been an increase in WA consumers buying strawberries in the past few days who were taking advantage of the rock-bottom prices.

“Small growers are under immense pressure at the moment and a lot are choosing to hold off on picking their crop,” he said.

“We need to instill confidence back in the consumers and get more strawberries sold.

“Just smash a strawb guys, smash as many as you can and help our local producers,” he pleaded.

Mr Handasyde said while the farm had seen an increase in customers in recent days, the loss from the plummeting prices would be hard to recover.

“We can’t keep up with sales at our farm shop,” he said.

“It’s great to see the support.

“All people have to do is cut up their strawberries and enjoy them.”

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White knuckle ride through Shakespeare

WILLIAM Shakespeare’s 37 plays will be performed in 97 minutes in Spectrum Theatre’s latest production, and director Katie Gunning can’t wait to get the show on the road.

The Compleat Wrks of Willm Shkspr (Abridged) will play on November 23, 24, 25 and 30 and on December 1, 2, 7 and 8 for a range of evening and matinee shows.

It will feature three main characters embodying a plethora of Shakespearean characters from across the playwright’s works.

Gunning said one performer will play up to 16 characters in each show.

“It’s a very fun play; it’s very unusual,” she said.

“I’ve done it three times before for my A-levels, uni and for a professional version, and it just makes Shakespeare so much more accessible to people.”

Gunning said this play is different to others performed by Spectrum in the past, as there is a lot of direct audience interaction and actors present as themselves.

“The person will come on and say, “I’m so and so, and I will be performing Shakespeare’s work,” she said.

“There’s a lot of audience participation; there’s characters for pure audience entertainment and there is a lot of knowing looks to the audience as if to say, ‘can you see what I have to work with?’

“It’s really high energy and fast paced.”

Gunning said regardless of whether people like Shakespeare or not, they will enjoy the show.

“There’s a lot of pop cultural references as well as Shakespearean jokes,” she said.

“So, while some jokes will go over 90 per cent of people’s heads because it’s very Shakespeare-specific, there will be a silly joke afterward that everyone will laugh at.”

Gunning said the play is notable for holding the world record for the shortest ever performance of Hamlet, traditionally a three-hour play.

It is performed forwards in 43 seconds, and performed backwards in 42 seconds.

Tickets for The Compleat Wrks of Willm Shkspr (Abridged) will be selling through Paperbark Merchants, so keep an eye on the Spectrum Theatre Facebook page and for the ticket release date.

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D-day for flood feud

A WOMAN embroiled in a decade-long dispute with the City of Albany over flooding at her Yakamia property will have her case heard in the Supreme Court from October 15 after her bid to adjourn the trial due to stress she is facing was knocked back.

Catherine Ziverts launched civil action against the City after her Beaufort Road property from 2007 suffered severe damage she claimed was caused by faulty drainage and subsequent flooding of Yakamia Creek.

In a decision published on Friday, Supreme Court Justice Janine Pritchard dismissed the application by self-represented Ms Ziverts, who had argued she was experiencing stress, anxiety and depression, making it hard for her to prepare for trial.

Ms Ziverts had asked that the trial, slated to last for 12 days from October 15, be adjourned for at least three months.

In a hearing on August 31, she told Justice Pritchard she needed more time to prepare.

Ms Ziverts described the trauma she was experiencing in dealing with the evidence, and her difficulties preparing her case since the end of May when her former solicitors ceased to act.

But the City argued the trial had already been adjourned for two months and a further adjournment would see it incur further costs.

In refusing Ms Ziverts’ application, Justice Pritchard noted her present stress resulted from no longer having a lawyer, but this was a “regrettable experience for many self-represented litigants”.

“… This is litigation which Ms Ziverts herself is pursuing,” Justice Pritchard concluded.

“She is not a defendant facing litigation whether she likes it or not.

“This is her action, and it is up to her whether she proceeds with it.”

She considered Ms Ziverts had “some ability” to prosecute her own action.

“In her submissions to the Court today, Ms Ziverts has been lucid and confident, and clearly has the ability to present her argument,” she added.

She implored the City and Ms Ziverts to make a further attempt at mediation.

“In making that observation, I wish to emphasise the importance of both sides adopting a willingness to compromise as to what might be done to bring an end to this litigation,” she counselled.

In a grievance motion presented to then Minister for Local Government John Castrilli in 2012, Albany MLA Peter Watson said Ms Ziverts had been left with a home she could not sell and that required large amounts of money to fix each time Yakamia Creek flooded.

He added this had taken a “tremendous toll on Ms Ziverts, not just financially but also emotionally”.

“Minister, this has been one of the most frustrating, time consuming and bureaucratic shambles I have ever seen an individual go through with government authorities,” Mr Watson added at the time.

“Ms Ziverts is a very courageous and determined woman, but no-one can be expected to wear this sort of expense and heartache forever.”

Ms Ziverts, whose phone number is now listed against an address in Denmark, was contacted for comment.

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Student digs fast-tracked

IN A localised version of Kevin Rudd’s 2009 stimulus package that stopped Australia entering recession after the global financial crisis, the area behind York Street’s Alison Hartman Gardens will get an early injection of student housing money to boost the local building industry after the recent collapse of construction firm Tectonics.

In Albany on Tuesday, State regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan said the $16 million student housing project would be a “shot in the arm” for the city’s building sector.

“This could not come at a better time for the Albany economy,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“We know the construction sector is down.

“There has been an unfortunate bankruptcy that occurred here with one of the large building companies [and] that’s had a flow-on effect throughout the subcontracting world in this region.”

She said the 40-bed building would be available to students attending local places of higher learning.

The project will be brought forward by early deployment of a $10.997 State grant.

Advance Housing will start a tender process this month to build the housing at the old Albany Primary School site.

Albany MLA Peter Watson said the project would be a much-needed boost at a time when local “builders, sub-contractors and suppliers are doing it tough”.

“It’s another step to Albany becoming a regional university and education hub that will service students throughout the Great Southern,” he said.

Ms MacTiernan said she hoped the building contract would be let in November, and start this coming summer.

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Beacon in the night

WHILE most folk are crawling under the covers to seek refuge in the warmth of their beds, come 11pm on a Saturday night, Albany’s own Ruth Carr and Jennie Small are shrugging on their jackets and backpacks to head out into the dark and provide aid to people who need it on Stirling Terrace and York Street.

Ms Carr, a volunteer with St John Ambulance, and Ms Small, a school chaplain, are part of Albany Street Chaplains group, a faith-based group who volunteer their time to deliver crisis care to people requiring assistance.

The group began three years ago and currently has 20 members who alternate walking the popular pub and club strip each Friday and Saturday night from 11pm to 3am.

Their care ranges from walking people to their cars, to handing out water bottles, to packing night-clubbers into taxis with a sick bag and providing first aid when necessary.

The pair say they have seen it all when it comes to nightlife behaviour.

“We just try to make it a bit safer,” Ms Small said.

“We’re like the sober eyes on the street.

“I was talking to a taxi driver one night and they said, ‘it’s been so much better here since you started’.

“I love to think we can make a difference.”

Ms Carr said she is often approached by people who simply want some company while on the street alone and are seeking safety in numbers.

“Sometimes people will come up to you and say, ‘can we just stand with you for a while?’, or they might just hang around you for a bit,” she said.

“We stand with people while they wait for a taxi too.”

The work of Albany Street Chaplains recently caught the eye of Albany’s Soroptimist International branch, who immediately wanted to help in any way possible.

President Janet Leamon said the street chaplains were using their own personal phones to call taxis and ambulances for people while on duty, and so decided the branch would donate $500 to go towards the purchase of a street chaplain phone.

“We wanted to help direct local money to local people,” Ms Leamon added.

Ms Carr and Ms Small said the phone would prove very helpful for them and the people they assist.

If you consider yourself as caring, compassionate, non-judgemental and empathetic and think you have what it takes to be a street chaplain, you can register your interest at

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Whooley wins right of appeal

ROB WHOOLEY, a Denmark Shire councillor elected after being sacked as the municipality’s chief engineer, had his day in the Supreme Court of Western Australia this week to appeal his earlier loss of a long-running unfair dismissal case against the Shire.

Shortly after appearing before Supreme Court President Michael Buss, and Justices Graeme Murphy and Rene Le Miere for two hours on Tuesday, Cr Whooley said he was pleased the Industrial Appeal Court in Perth agreed to hear his case.

“The question was whether they would even allow the appeal to be heard,” the self-represented appellant said.

“Most of [the Shire’s] lawyers said I had no chance of winning.

“The good thing is the [court] obviously contemplated there is a basis [for action].”

Cr Whooley said that whether he wins the case will be “another thing”.

“But they could have just chucked it out and said: ‘Nah, we’re not even gonna hear it, mate’,” he added.

In December, The Weekender revealed that in 2015 the Shire had offered Cr Whooley money to discontinue his claim originally filed in the Fair Work Commission (‘Denmark offered Whooley money’, 21 December, 2017).

Now the case is before the Industrial Appeal Court, an arm of the Supreme Court, Cr Whooley is no longer in a no-costs jurisdiction.

It is understood that if he loses his appeal the Shire would be entitled to seek legal costs in excess of $80,000.

Cr Whooley said the Shire had hired a Sydney-based barrister who brought two other lawyers across the continent with him.

“It must have cost a small fortune, but anyway, [after the hearing] I shook hands with them and said: ‘Thanks, Jamie, I’ll see you in the High Court, and he kind of giggled and after that, I said: ‘I’ll see you in the Privy Council’.”

On a more serious note, Cr Whooley said the case had been very stressful for his family.

“It’s been going since 2015,” he lamented.

Contacted for comment on Tuesday afternoon, Shire CEO Bill Parker said he did not attend the hearing, but was expecting a call from the Shire’s solicitor.

The court has reserved its ruling for a later date.

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